- One of the only 24" sized fat e-bikes I have ever seen, it's easier to approach, stand over, and handle for short to mid-sized riders, Pedego also offers a 20" fat model for kids
- Large comfortable tires that work well on sand or snow when deflated to 5-8 PSI, an integrated aimable headlight keeps you visible and lights the way, pedal assist and throttle operation
- Large 180 mm mechanical disc brakes with tool-free adjustable calipers, motor inhibitors, and an integrated bell, updated frame design with shorter wheelbase improves handling
- Fairly expensive but you get a large network of dealers for in-person support, heavy but powerful and well balanced, the bike comes with an extra fuse, touch up paint, and a quick 3 Amp charger
Pedego is offering something very special with the new 24″ Trail Tracker. It’s a medium sized fat tire electric bicycle that makes mounting, standing over, and controlling a lot easier for small and mid-sized riders. This is a large, relatively heavy, electric bike after all. The last thing you want is an off-balance stopped position or struggle even getting on. Amazingly, the company also offers a kid-sized 20″ Trail Tracker, and of course, they have the full sized 26″ model which is shown in the video review above to sort of contrast the size differences and show off a suspension fork add-on. All of these bikes share a similar look and have seen incremental improvements since 2013 when Pedego was using rear-rack batteries. By contrast, the newest models have downtube integrated packs that keep weight low and center and free up the back of the bike for swinging your leg over or adding your own aftermarket disc brake compatible rack like this. While this and other Trail Tracker models do not come cheap, they do offer excellent dealer support so you can get fitted and have somewhere to go if and when you need maintenance or upgrades. This is sort of a niche product, fat tire bikes were originally designed for use on sand or snow, but more and more people are buying them just for fun riding around the neighborhood. I love that Pedego opted for disc brakes given the larger size and continues to offer pedal assist and throttle so you get full power or efficiency based on your ride preference. They even threw on an integrated headlight to help you manage nighttime riding conditions… but you’ll have to use your own backlight. I often clip one onto my backpack or helmet. As a medium sized guy measuring ~5’9″ this bike felt great, and I had plenty of leg clearance. Note the 27.5″ effective standover height and measure your own inseam with shoes on to determine whether it would work for you.
The drive system consists of a powerful, high-end, hub motor from Dapu rated at 500+ watts. What makes it nice is how compact and quite it is despite being so powerful. It can peak out at over 850 watts and offers a max torque rating of 35 Newton meters which is a lot for a hub. Many companies are now offering mid-drive motors in place of or in addition to hub motors (which tend to cost less), the advantage is that you can leverage motor power more effectively… but they tend to wear the chain and gears down more quickly and rarely have throttle operation as an option. With the Dapu hub motor, Pedego offers both drive modes and it really doesn’t matter what gear you pedal with, the motor offers a smooth steady output. I think it blends in nicely between the large disc brake rotor on the left and the seven-speed cassette on the right. Seven gears isn’t a lot but the top assisted speed here is 20 mph so it’s good enough and the derailleur is two steps up from the base Shimano offering. In all truth, it’s a low/mid level setup and the shifter is not performance oriented, but the larger thumb levers make it easier to use when wearing gloves. There’s also a large window with clear readout for what gear is in use. This choice was probably a cost saving, snow or cold weather capable, entry-level friendly choice and it performed well enough during my tests. The cockpit is clean and easy to understand. I love that both brake levers have motor inhibitors built in so that when you pull, they instantly cut power to the motor as well as stop the wheels.
Powering the motor, backlit display, integrated USB charging port, and headlight is a custom designed downtube-inset battery pack. You can charge this thing on or off the bike, it has a little handle at the top for easy carrying, and while it does lock into the frame… you don’t have to leave the keys in to get it going (as some of the older Pedego models required). You get 36 volts, 11 amp hours to play with and I’d say that’s a touch above average in terms of capacity. The full sized Trail Tracker offers a 48-volt system which transfers electricity slightly more efficiently but that model also costs more and weighs about five pounds more. You’ll probably get a lot of attention and interest with the fat tires on their own so I like that the electric-bike aspect of this model is toned down a little, it just looks clean. The design also improves frame stiffness and spreads weight out evenly front to rear, making it feel more stable. Paul, the product manager, and designer for this bike, told me that they managed to shorten the wheelbase a bit for their 2017 Trail Tracker lineup and that the result was a tighter turning radius and more nimble handling.
Operating the bike is a simple two-step process and there are a couple of fun tricks and extras that the display offers this time around. Once the battery is charged and mounted, just press the silver circle button near the top of the pack and then click the power button on the LCD display panel. The screen flickers to life and shows your basic speed, assist level, and battery capacity readouts. I love that you can click set and + together to switch from battery voltage to cycle count and percentage because the five bar infographic just isn’t as precise as I prefer, percentage is definitely useful for a bike that’s heavier and less efficient like these fat tire models tend to be. The bike powers on in level zero which is what Pedego calls “freeride mode” and that’s just basically “no support” but you do get the display showing stats and the headlight going. As you press the plus button up through levels 1-5 the pedal assist sensor activates and starts listening for crank arm rotation. The new cadence sensor is compact and less likely to get bumped or thrown off with mud and water accumulation. In any of these five levels you can use the half-grip twist throttle on the left grip for instant power. This is a wonderful tool for starting after a stop sign or adding power to climb a hill or catch up to a friend. Why not have a throttle?! Well, it does change the bike from Class 1 to Class 2 which is technically not allowed on some trails but in my experience, the motor is not powerful enough to spin out or cause trail damage so the distinction is a little silly. The top speed here is 20 mph but you can certainly pedal or coast faster than that… to a degree. The seven speed cassette is only going to let you pedal so fast. Anyway, the final setting is level six which is throttle only. This is nice if you get spooked with pedal assist and don’t want to be surprised when accidentally forgetting and moving the cranks. Note the USB charging port at the base of the control panel, this is great fo use with a smartphone GPS, extra lights (some users string Christmas lights on their bikes for fun) or a portable bluetooth speaker system.
Pedego tries to preserve the simple, clean look of their original bikes and create a sort of nostalgia for some classic beach cruisers. The Trail Tracker models look simple and sturdy to me but they don’t lack bottle cage bosses, rear rack bosses, fender bosses, drive mode options, or high-end drive systems. This is a capable ebike that offers on and off-road fun. You do pay a bit of a premium for the Pedego name, strong two-year warranty, and friendly network of dealers… but it’s worth it in a lot of ways in my opinion. Pedego shops often have ebike rental programs so you could try the bikes out and enjoy seeing a new city. They have some color options (in this case just the rim color) and they use standard bicycle parts that will be easy to work with for years to come. Their battery design is proprietary but uses high-end Panasonic cells with reliable Lithium-ion chemistry. And the bike will charge quickly thanks to a 3 Amp charger whereas most other electric bikes only offer 2 Amp chargers. If you’re on the market for a fun “go anywhere” electric bike that has a bit of comfort and stability mixed in, any of these fat tire bikes would fit the bill. With the 24″ Trail Tracker you get a suspension seatpost to further smooth out the ride and that sloping top tube and unique wheel size provides an awesome experience. It’s a solid electric bike.
- The battery and motor are well hidden and spread weight across the frame vs. keeping it high up in the rear
- Large 4″ wide tires provide excellent traction, a bit of comfort, and can be deflated slightly (5 to 8 PSI) to work on sand or snow
- Threaded electrical connectors keep water from getting into the sensitive bits but make maintenance and damage replacement easier
- Pedego has one of the largest dealer networks in the US and is growing globally, you can often test ride and get fitted as well as serviced in person
- Strong 180 mm mechanical disc brakes offer good stopping power for this 58+ lb ebike, they stay clear of water and mud much better than rim brakes
- You get an aimable integrated headlight to help you navigate paths in the dark and keep you visible to cars and other riders
- I really appreciate the suspension post upgrade, the rigid Aluminum frame is stiff and sturdy but the vibration dampening steel fork, large tires, and suspension post help to reduce the motion and discomfort of a bumpy trail transferring into your body
- Angled top tube and smaller 24″ diameter wheels lower the standover height of this bike, making it easier to mount and handle for people with short inseams
- Nice solid pedals with great traction, a neoprene slap guard to protect the chainstay, alloy bash guard to clear pants, and locking grips for a solid hold
- The removable battery pack can be charged on or off the frame for convenience, if you wanted to commute with the bike or maybe park the frame in the garage but protect the battery inside, the charger is fairly portable and quick offering 3 Amps vs. the standard 2 Amp I see on a lot of others
- Pedego redesigned the frame to create a shorter wheelbase which improves handling and makes the frame stiffer in general for efficiency
- They managed to squeeze in bottle cage bosses on the seat tube! This is useful for carrying fluids or a folding lock or mini-pump, whether you use it or not, it’s nice to have the option there and the back of the bike has provisions for adding a cargo rack if you want even more hauling capacity
- I love that Pedego includes a thorough manual with their bikes, a small tool set, an extra fuse, and touch-up paint, it just feels like you’re getting more for your money and keeps the bike going
- The brakes have motor inhibitors built in so that anytime you pull, the motor immediately cuts out for safety, I like the integrated bell on the left lever
- Cadence sensing pedal assist allows you to pedal softly but still get full power, I like it because I have sensitive knees, Pedego upgraded the sensor to be small and stay out of the way which makes it more durable
- You get throttle on demand performance which is great for starting or powering up a hill without having to adjust assist level (which can be distracting), the twist throttle is easy to use and overrides assist
- Pedego now offers a two-year comprehensive warranty and lifetime warranty on the frame
- The power cable that runs to the motor is mounted to the left chainstay vs. the right which keeps the drivetrain less crowded, it is also tucked in near the frame better than the older cheaper motor cables that could get snagged or bent if the bike tipped
- The Shimano Acera drivetrain is two steps up from the base level component group and has a large thumb-shifter that is easy to use if you’re wearing gloves (which makes sense on a fat e-bike like the Trail Tracker)
- The battery seats into the frame really well, it clicks so you know it’s connected, and you don’t have to leave the key in while riding like you did on the older models
- If you want to charge your phone or an extra light while riding, you can plug directly into the base of the display because it has a 5 Volt USB port which pulls power from the main battery, very cool!
- I love how the display shows battery percentage as well as a battery infographic with bars, it’s just more precise with the percentage (press Set and + at the same time to cycle through to battery cycles and battery voltage from percentage)
- Pedego has a list of recommended accessories that will work with each bike such as a wide rack and wide fenders for the Trail Tracker here
- The spokes are slightly thicker at 13 gauge vs. 14 gauge and because the wheel diameter is smaller, they tend to be stronger and provide a higher weight/force rating, the hub motor also gets a mechancal advantage
- The headlight is great but I wish Pedego also offered a backlight that was wired in, you can always add a clip-on light at your seat post or on a backpack/helmet
- This is a heavy electric bike at 58.5 lbs and both wheels use nuts vs. quick release systems so servicing, storing, and transporting often requires a tool and some extra time
- As great as the disc brakes are, with a tool-free adjustable caliper setup, the mechanical design isn’t as fluid or easy to pull as hydraulic which usually also has adjustable-length levers
- The kickstand works well enough, it is extra large and adjustable, but is positioned at the bottom bracket where it can collide with the left crank if you walk the bike backward
- For nearly $3k I feel like the bike is on the expensive side… that said, it’s the only 24″ fat electric bike I know of at this time and the warranty is great
- To power on the bike you have to take two steps (first press the power ring on the battery and then the power button on the display), it takes a bit of extra time but at least the two buttons are easy to reach if you have already mounted the bike
- Cadence sensors aren’t as fluid or quick to let the motor kick in so there was some delay as I was testing…
but being able to override with the throttle basically solves this